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Pharmacy Errors Can Result in Serious Injuries

In Pennsylvania, claims for injuries resulting from medical malpractice are largely governed by the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. A component of the MCARE Act is that health care providers must report all injury incidents and near misses, and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority receives about 220,000 reports a year. The US Drug Watchdog, however, warns that errors related to pharmaceuticals are grossly underreported despite the statistics already being alarmingly high.

What Is the US Drug Watchdog?

America’s Watchdog is a leading consumer advocacy group in the United States and is the parent organization of US Drug Watchdog. This subgroup focuses specifically on consumer products in the health care domain. It strives to alert consumers of potential risks, and when mistakes have been made, it works with both victims and lawyers in order to ensure that people who were harmed receive the appropriate compensation. The organization defines its mission as:
  • Educating consumers
  • Identifying victims and incidents
  • Assisting victims and their legal representation
  • Exposing drug companies

A Nationwide Campaign

The US Drug Watchdog believes that there is a serious and ongoing problem occurring with pharmacy medication in particular. The group asserts that there are several errors occurring at a high rate but that they are being underreported. These mistakes occur during manufacturing but also in the handling and sales phases. An error that the organization is particularly concerned about is patients receiving the wrong medication. If a consumer gets the wrong label, this is usually easy to identify. However, if a bottle has the right label but the wrong medication, then this can be devastating to the patient. Such mistakes can result in:
  • Death
  • Birth defects
  • Hospitalization
  • Allergic reactions
  • Permanent disabilities

What Are Pharmacy Errors, and Why Are They Underreported?

A pharmacy error can be anything from a defective device to a mislabeled bottle of pills. These mistakes can occur at your local pharmacy but also with emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, online vendors and so forth. When it comes to underreporting, the US Drug Watchdog believes that the average U.S. consumer and even the average personal injury attorney do not associate such mistakes with personal injuries. The motivation behind this nationwide campaign is to get the word out about this problem. The group is targeting large metro areas, which is where the statistics indicate the problem is most prevalent.

What Rights Do These Victims Have?

Be mindful that the onus is on the victim and his or her legal representation to prove that the accused has committed a civil wrong. In the case of a bad prescription, keeping the bottle, pills and receipt can go a long way to this end. If a victim has evidence that a pharmacy incorrectly filled a prescription, for instance, then he or she has the same right to compensation that any victim would. This will vary greatly depending on the specifics of the case but can include:
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitative care expenses
  • Current and future lost income
  • Wrongful death
  • Punitive damages

Are Most Lawyers Prepared to Tackle These Cases?

The US Drug Watchdog does raise some interesting points. Many high-profile cases are considered class-action suits and are delegated to the largest firms. Part of the US Drug Watchdog mission is to provide young lawyers with the resources required in order for them to represent their clients well.

The Local Representation You Need

At Metzger & Kleiner, we are prepared and have helped many people just like you get compensation for injuries and other damages. As Philadelphia injury attorneys, our focus is on personal injury law, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Initial consultations with a Philadelphia injury attorney are provided at no cost to you and without obligation. You can contact us online or call us. You can reach us at our Philadelphia office at (215) 567-6616 or our Lehigh Valley office at (610) 435-7400.

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